This is my first post to this community - so I hope that my little story I have, will be acceptable??
It follows elves in their fight against zombies ... so I hope you enjoy!!
ALL A DECEPTION
I sat alone in my own space, surrounded by the others, who didn’t seem interested in approaching me. I could see their point - if I were them, I wouldn’t come near me either. To the others, I’d be the monster.
Now, to anyone else, that would sound defeatist. It isn’t. I’m just stating facts and I’m at peace with that. Among my own kind, I am not a monster.
I am Riley, and I am a dark elf: high Elder of all the Dark Elves. Right now, I am surrounded by the Light Elves who view me and my people as barbaric, dangerous even evil. I guess they are sort of right, but we’re only that way because we have to be. I can’t choose or change my destiny, just like they can’t.
Or so I thought.
One of the light elves approached me - light haired and blue eyed like most of the elves of the light. He was hesitant, like he was wary, or frightened of me.
“You can come near, child. I am not about to eat you,” I said, wearily, realizing right then just how tired I really was of the wariness around me.
Really, I wasn’t as frightening as everyone seemed to think that I was.
I continued addressing the light elf by saying - “Unlike those outside!”
“I know. That’s why I’ve been sent - why I’ve come over!” he corrected himself hastily, but still it was too late. “Are you actually going to do something or are you actually going to wait for us all to get eaten?”
The light elf’s fair features, so unlike my own, took on a faint mocking, almost sarcastic tone. That alone surprised me. Usually elves are a patient lot, even us, the dark elves. I guess being immortal and pretty impervious to disease and most wounds breeds some kind of patience.
Things must be getting pretty bad if even the light elves were resorting to sarcasm.
“I’m working on it, child - which is why you called me and mine, is it not?” I asked him, adding mentally that the light elves didn’t usually bother with us.
Usually they kept out of our way, just like we try to keep out of theirs - easy really, seeing as they live in the woods and we live in caves, miles apart one from the other. We only come in contact with each other by accident or via the occasional war if they feel we’ve overstepped any boundaries. This is about the first time I’ve known the elves of the light come practically begging us to help them and I’ve been alive for over a thousand years, a fact that the elf in front of me now referred to.
“You’d better pull your finger out, then, Riley, hadn’t you? Elves are dying here. We’ve already lost too many to this virus as it is - we can’t afford to lose any more. And stop calling me child, I am almost as old as you are - you know that!” he said, edging on petulance now.
I did in fact know that, but that didn’t stop me from feeling like the elder anyway and I told him that, which I think, didn’t win me any more favours here. Then again, because I am a dark elf, I think that just from looking at me, the light elves are not going to like me. They judge me and the rest of my kind too quickly and mostly on appearances.
Unlike the light elves who are fair and radiant, with beautiful elegant faces, large luminous blue eyes, and are slim and willowy in body, we are the exact opposite. I, like all other dark elves, am indeed dark. Our skin is as black as the night, blacker even. Our skin swallows the very light from the air. Only our eyes glitter and capture the light. I like other dark elves before me, have eyes like colas, no whites to speak of, just all black orbs, with stars trapped deep within them. Unlike the more elegant elves of the light, dark elves tend to run to being more stocky and muscular, although just as tall. Our clothes differ, too, with the dark elves preferring black clothes and silver adornments, with elves of the light favouring more natural colours, like greens and browns. Even our weapons were different. Light Elves favoured their longbows, while dark elves preferred their silver swords. As High Elder, I’d earned the right through battle to carry two swords as mark of rank: all other elves below me carried one.
It was one of these silver bladed swords I was sharpening when the light elf approached me. I was sharpening while thinking, as I found I did my best thinking while my hands were busy.
I stood, admiring the way the light played on the edges of my blade and I felt rather than saw the light elf step away. Even though we were the same height, the other elf always seemed to me to be much smaller because of his deceptive frailness. I knew he wasn’t as weak as he looked - these light elves never were.
I had to hide a smile at that - it was very rare to see an elf flinch. Times must indeed be very trying to frighten a fellow elf to that extent.
I had more than enough manners to hide the fact that I was laughing at him. It never did to offend a fellow perilous being.
“Don’t worry, Willow, I will not hurt you. I’m not frightening you, this time. I’m here to help, hopefully. Now, if you’ll just leave me to think, I will try my best to help you,” I said, pointedly, glaring at the light elf until he finally stepped away, respectfully.
“I’m sorry, Riley, for intruding, but it’s just that this situation is a little urgent,” he said and there was that faint trace of sarcasm again.
“Don’t you think I know that? I’ve lost good delves too to those monstrosities out there. Trust me, I want my revenge just as much as anyone else,” I said, seriously.
The elf looked at me, before barely suppressing a shudder. Then he respectfully left me, muttering something about these dark elves being so damn freaky.
I sat back down, sharpened my other blade, before getting up to currently pace the room where we currently were, practicing with the newly honed blades, while throwing the occasional glance out of the window. Outside were still those monstrosities we were trying to defeat. Those were zombies - what used to be elves, both dark and light, sent to torment us with the intent to kill and eat us for some reason none of us knew. So far, all our efforts to stop them and preferably eradicate them had failed. I guess the appearance of us dark elves had been a bit of a last resort for the elves of the light.
First of all, they had tried to blame us for the appearance of the zombies and it took some convincing for then to believe us when we told them otherwise.
Then we tried to figure out how to stop them. The Light Elves had tried all the spells they knew and had since resorted to using their long bows, all to no avail. They’d tried hand to hand combat, but had ended up losing even more good elves to the cannibalistic zombies. On the way in to help them, I had lost good elves of my own and that was only on the way in. Between me and mine and them and theirs, we’d put our heads together and we’d tried a few dark spells that we knew. In actual fact, the dark spells only made the zombies more violent and rabid. I’d seen them with my own eyes eat some good elves, those that they didn’t turn into more of their own.
So I’d just resorted to sitting and thinking while sharpening my blades waiting for inspiration to come.
I re-sheathed my swords on my back, before going to the front of the crowd of still fighting elves, noticing that, as one, they moved out of my way, as though frightened to touch me. I noticed that the dark elves under my command received the same treatment. I must admit that I didn’t like it, but I couldn’t remove the light elf misconceptions and preconceptions. I didn’t see how I ever could. Maybe if me and mine could win this fight then they would finally change their minds.
Suddenly I realized that more was at stake here than just fighting a bunch of stupid zombies. The pride of the dark elves rested on my shoulders. Sometimes I hated being High Elder. It gave you some pretty hefty responsibilities at times.
Mackenzie, the High Elder of the Light Elves, was brave enough to approach me and he, at least, made the attempt to bow to me: a gesture sadly absent in the elf who’d approached me before. Given the circumstances, I’d let it slide, but in actual fact, it was the height of rudeness not to bow to your elders in our circles. I returned the courtesy to Mackenzie, graciously. Just because I am a dark elf and supposedly evil, does not mean that I am ill mannered and do not know my place. I do, on both counts - a fact that would probably surprise the elves of the light.
“Thank you for joining us, Riley. I have not had the proper chance to do that. Forgive me,” Mackenzie said, finally.
“Thank you for trusting me and mine enough to ask us for help,” I countered, just as formally. “After today, maybe you will think of us more kindly, if we can be or further genuine assistance.”
Behind me, I heard a light elf mutter - “That's a very big if.”
My hand tensed, and I just stopped myself from drawing one or both of my swords. I’d done it for less in the past. Mackenzie noticed my struggle, but only nodded out his thanks to me for abstaining. Instead he addressed the murmured.
“If you’ve got something to say, Willow, then come out of the shadows and say it. You are an elf of the light and I am sure Riley here has killed for less than that,” Mackenzie said, with such a glare to have ever shone out of a light elf’s eyes.
Really, that look, that scowl, would have sat easier on a dark elf’s face than a more elegant light one.
The elf that had spoken didn’t say another word. No doubt he had also seen me tense and realized how close to death he had come. Smartest thing he’d done since opening his mouth.
Then I said - “I have an idea, anyway.”
Mackenzie actually looked surprised at that, before saying - “Really? Care to indulge us, Riley?”
“Of course. That is why I am here, is it not?” I asked, with a small, but smug smile, that Mackenzie luckily didn’t notice.
The light elf had already looked away, smiling at his minions in a triumphant fashion.
I wasn’t entirely bluffing when I told him that, but I did embellish on the details as I was telling them my newly hatched plan.
It seemed but a short while later when I was outside with a mixed band of light and dark elf t my back.
I muttered to myself while shaking my head at the scrapes I got myself into.
“My courageous insanity follows an infinite time!” I muttered to myself.
A light elf beside me asked, in a distracted fashion - “I beg your pardon?”
“Nothing,” I said, with a smile, knowing that my white teeth flashing against my blacker than black skin showing in a grin could be most unsettling.
The elf didn’t fail to notice and turned away, as another elf said - “Are you sure this crazy plan will work, Riley?”
“No, but that’s what makes it crazy,” I countered, deadpan.
“It all rests on you, you know that?” said the second elf, with a scowl at me.
“I’ve attached the weight of the world to my shoulders,” I murmured, more to myself than to anyone else.
I don’t think anyone heard me that time, or else they weren’t taking any more notice. I guess they kind of had their hands full chopping the heads off the zombies.
That had been tried before of course, but it hadn’t worked. This time it stopped them, dead in their tracks, no pun intended. This time, what made all the difference, we had magically enhanced swords: magically charged with dark spells to fight the dead.
I’d had part of the idea when I was sharpening my own blades, because being the High Elder of all the Dark Elves, I had the only pair of swords permitted to be magically charged at all times. I’d won the right to use them, and even the swords themselves, back in the day when I fought a dragon. I’d got my dragon tattoo that wrapped around my body at the same time to mark the occasion. It was a low-level glamour spell really that didn’t require much attention or magical ability, because no ink would mark my blacker than black skin.
I’d lowered the ban on the charmed swords because I felt this was one of the rare occasions when the time permitted it. I’d set the law so that the dark elves under me could only use their swords charmed when the situation was really dicey. Being High Elder, I never knew when I was going to be attacked, hence the always magically charmed swords.
And my crazy plan had indeed paid off, for the zombies stayed dead, truly undead and un moving.
I helped to collect the magical amulets from around the zombified elves necks, which had helped to empower their shambling non-life.
I piled them at Mackenzie’s feet before saying - “I’ve fulfilled my half of the bargain, Mackenzie. Now it’s your turn to do something for me. Lift the spells on these amulets just in case they fall into the wrong hands. I don’t want this happening again.”
This last said, as I pointed sharply down at the dismembered bodies on the leaf-strewn ground.
Mackenzie wouldn’t meet my eyes as he said - “I can’t!”
“Why not? Do it!” I barked at him, jabbing my finger at him this time, rather than at the zombies.
Mackenzie’s luminescent blue eyes flicked up and met my own star filled black gaze and that’s when I knew.
“It was you, wasn’t it? You spread the zombie virus, didn’t you? You doomed some of your own to die, and some of mine, then had the gall, the bare faced nerve to call me in! Me and mine! Who the hell do you think you are, Mackenzie! Who are you? You are a disgrace to the elvish kind, that’s what you are, a disgrace! And you call us dark elves barbaric and dangerous! Judging by what you’re done here today, you light elves can be ten times worse than we’ll ever be, and will ever dream to be! How dare you?” I roared, drawing my swords again, and taking a fighting stance towards Mackenzie. “What the hell did you think you were doing - putting us all through that, especially your own people!”
“I didn’t plan for all these casualties, Riley. I only wanted to create a few of the undead from elves that had chosen to leave their own lives of their own volition. I wanted to see if I could do it, and I wanted an excuse to bring the two races of elves together, at last, forever,” he said, looking quite uncomfortable, showing much more emotion than I’d ever seen another elf show, especially Mackenzie.
“Well, why couldn’t you call me in to talk - elf to elf - for a parley? Instead of this?! I asked, pointing down at the pile of dismembered heads, almost expressionlessly, trying to cover up my feelings of disgust at the bodies, at the situation, even at Mackenzie himself.
And I’d been accused of being evil in the past - yet I’d never willingly endangered the lives of so many elves before in all my long life. I’d never had the wish to and I never would - especially after this. I’d lost good elves to this poor excuse for an elf, who called himself High Elder of all Light Elves.
“And do you think that the elves under my command would give you respect over just words, a parley? At least this way they’ve seen you in action, have seen what you can do and are capable of, that you would risk yourself for others if the situation begs it. Today you have earnt respect for what you have done - my elves have seen you at your best at last, instead of believing you to be evil, just to take you at face value like they have done for years. Do the right thing, Riley, put up your swords and show you can be merciful in the face of adversity, if the situation begs it. Spare my life for trying to spare yours, for trying to heighten your name and reputation amongst my people. Be the noble elf I’ve always known you to be, always believed you could be, Riley. Yours is a noble name, Riley, revered by a few yet feared by many. Live up to your name, Riley and be noble. Show your mercy like I’ve tried to show you.”
I didn’t know what to say to that long and heartfelt speech, yet I could see the sense of it, twisted though the reasoning might be.
“The weight of the world is on my shoulders isn't it, Mackenzie? You’ve placed it there and I must admit that I don’t quite know what to do now the weight is there,” I admitted.
“Walk straight, Riley, for a final solution, child,” Mackenzie told me, still at the mercy of my charmed silver blades. “I’ve stated my case and I’ll never turn, not now.”
I stared at him, as all around us the elves stared at me expectantly with bated breath. I felt the weight of their gazes upon me.
Slowly, slowly, I lowered my swords, feeling my pride diminish slightly. All I wanted right then was to avenge myself for all the elves I’d lost and all the pain and embarrassment I’d been put through to get here, and for what?
And then I thought - It isn’t so bad, if I want peace. I’ll put up my swords despite my proclivities to fight. There was some pride indeed to be taken in that ...
“You’re right, Mackenzie. I see your point, although there must have been an easier and less bloodthirsty way to prove your point,” I told him, as I re-sheathed my swords as graciously as I could.
The relief in the air was palpable ad I heard more than one sigh of relief around me.
“Maybe so, but it was the best way to prove a point at the time, or so I thought,” Mackenzie said, with a slight smile and a nod of his head in my direction.
A slight smile was as good as a grin for Mackenzie. He never really gave anyone a true grin like the dark elves did. Sometimes we did it for show, like I think I may have said before, but I got the feeling that the elves of the light are a less happy, more restrained bunch than we are. It would be good to finally get them fully on our side though, at long last.
“Next time, think it through properly,” I said to him.
“Hopefully, there won’t be a next time. We’ve made a parley haven’t we? No one can go back on a parley!” Mackenzie said, as serious as ever.
“No, they don’t. The word of a dark elf, is as good as a light one’s,” I told him, turning just as serious. "You do realize that this matter is not quite settled don't you? You do realize that you will have to pay penance for all the harm you have caused here today?"
Mackenzie nodded out his acceptance of that, before I said - “The penance by Dark Elf laws is immediate death by beheading, although I realize your traditions are different than ours. I believe your laws require you to be derpived of food, water and sunlight for 50 years in solitary confinement in a rocky cavern?"
I watched expressionlessly as Mackenzies eyes widened at my reminder of his own laws. I guess most saw death by beheading as barbaric, but in comparison with the Light Elves own laws, at least beheading was quick. The Light Elve's punishment for breaking laws was far worse, in that the punishment was lengthy, and required the elf in question to be surrounded by rocks - an unnatural and uncomfortable environment for a Light elf who withered from absence from the trees.
I cannot help you make your decision, Mackenzie, nor can I help you out of it," I said, almost sadly.
"I know, Riley. I do not wish to be beheaded," Mackenzie said, quietly, therefore telling me in a roundabout way which punishment he really preferred.
I nodded out my acceptance at that, before saying : “You going to lift that spell off these amulets now or what? We don’t want these getting into the wrong hands, so they can cause some damage!”
There was a brief ruffle of laughter from dark and light elves alike, not quite covering up my muttered remark of - “And you’re supposed to be the good guys!”
Mackenzie only gave me a mild look, before saying - “I heard that, Riley. May I remind you of our parley?”
“Remind away, Mackenzie and I’ll still remember. Guess you’ll have to put up with my smart mouth forever more!” I said, flashing him a grin.
Mackenzie gave me one of his slight smiles, which was as good as a grin, before he did, indeed lift the spell off the amulets. I guess he felt that he could do it now, even though he claimed he couldn’t before, because he’d now achieved the goal he’d set the spells for - he’d received his parley from me.
I found myself thinking that if he’d just have asked it of me, I would have given it. I’m not a complete barbarian and neither are my people. But I could see his point about going through the processes we did - I, at least gained the respect of the light elves by aligning me and mine with theirs for the day. I hues we all have something to take away with us today, even as we stayed on to help the light elves bury their dead.
After all, we had our own dead to bury as well as the old hatchet over our shared past as well as a punishment to mete out ...
- Current Location:my desk
- Current Mood: bouncy
- Current Music:Nerve - Soilwork